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Deputy Michael McNamara.

Fix found for North West Clare phone coverage issue

HOPES have been voiced of an end to a long-running problem for customers on eir’s mobile network across North West Clare.

For several months now, customers have been frustrated by difficulties in achieving stable connections for calls and mobile broadband. The situation prompted an outpouring of anger from home, farm and business customers relying on the service, particularly during the pandemic. Such was the level of severity that the issue was raised in Dáil Éireann when Deputy Michael McNamara appealed to the Tánaiste to investigate the powers of the regulator, ComReg. The Independent TD was sharply critical of what he described as a failure to deliver on promises made in the Programme for Government.

He raised the issue directly with the CEO of the company, Carolan Lennon after she faced an onslaught of criticism during an appearance before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications at the end of last year.

Since raising the matter in the Dáil last month, Deputy McNamara now believes a solution has been found. “Eir today [Mnday, February 15] informed me that its mobile technical team has reviewed the intermittent call issues in Miltown Malbay and implemented a fix,” he said in a statement. “Eir’s mobile coverage problems throughout West Clare have proven to be very disruptive to customers, particularly those working from home and students engaged in remote learning. I raised the issue in Dáil Éireann and with the CEO of eir on several occasions last month and I welcome the progress that has been made since in providing a fix.  The company says it has checked the performance of its mobile services in West Clare since it implemented the fix and has seen no repeat issues.”

Meanwhile, Deputy McNamara confirmed that eir has progressed a new site in Miltown Malbay to further enhance data speeds in the area. “This new site is planned to go live on Friday and will hopefully bring an end to the longstanding coverage issues being experienced throughout the area.”

Over the winter months, network outages have hit several parts of the county, prompting Deputy McNamara to call repeatedly for greater accountability on the part of the regulator.

“It is clear from network issues in parts of West Clare in recent weeks as well as ongoing widespread outages across Ireland… that the company should face greater scrutiny and sanctions from ComReg over its repeated failure to deliver for all of its customers,” he told the Dáil last month.

“Despite having been mentioned three times in the Programme for Government, no additional supports have yet been provided to ComReg to keep pressure on telecoms companies to provide services they have advertised and are contracted to provide. Without additional resources to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute providers for not fulfilling their responsibilities to consumers, ComReg will remain a barking dog that doesn’t bite.”

“I fully support ComReg in its efforts to obtain increased enforcement powers. I call on Government to expedite its proposed plan to provide ComReg with additional powers to impose additional sanctions on service providers.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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